UC Santa Cruz joins the Association of Pacific Rim Universities

People gathered around a computer
Through participating in the APRU, UC Santa Cruz will have multiple opportunities to initiate partnerships with universities in the association.

UC Santa Cruz has joined the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, allowing opportunities for collaboration with 51 leading universities in the region.

“The election of UC Santa Cruz to the APRU brings us an opportunity to widen institutional partnerships and relationships on a critically important international stage, the Pacific Rim,” according to UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive. “Like the election of UC Santa Cruz to the Association of American Universities (AAU) last fall, APRU membership recognizes the excellence of our faculty and programs and the global impact of our research.”

APRU was founded in 1997 by UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Southern California, and California Institute of Technology with the goal of working together on solutions to worldwide problems. The group’s main research areas include global health, natural hazards and disaster risk reduction, women in leadership and sustainable cities. Six other University of California campuses are members.

If there was any doubt about the need for global cooperation, the COVID–19 pandemic has put that to rest.

“It illustrates the need for greater global competencies and international understanding and international problem solving,” said Richard Hughey, UC Santa Cruz interim vice provost of global engagement.

Becky George, UC Santa Cruz assistant vice provost of global engagement, said membership in the association raises the campus’s standing in the world because it is such a respected organization and because the membership is composed of leading universities of the Pacific Rim region known worldwide for their academic and research excellence. “Affiliation with the association and the members elevates our global reputation,” she said.

Through participating in the APRU, UC Santa Cruz will have multiple opportunities to dialogue with members and initiate direct partnerships with universities in the association, George added.

In normal times, the group offers a chance for representatives from the universities to meet for conferences and projects. There are chances for university presidents and administrators to connect as well as conferences for students and professors to attend research symposia and summer schools.

Like everything else, much of that has been canceled this year due to the pandemic, including a multi-hazard summer school that was supposed to take place in Tokyo and an undergraduate student leaders conference in Manila. Yet other opportunities do remain. Events on the group’s calendar include a global student health case competition in which teams of students address a pressing global health problem and a forum on artificial intelligence for social good in Bangkok in the fall.

UC Santa Cruz has many of the same objectives as APRU, such as encouraging more women to serve as leaders at universities. Forty-three percent of faculty are female, and last year the university started a faculty community networking group for women in science, technology, engineering, and math.

“One goal is to make faculty leadership positions more accessible to a wider audience, thus improving the diversity of the pool from which we can recruit future faculty leaders,” Larive said.

Larive pointed out that from its founding in 1965, UC Santa Cruz has been committed to social justice and environmental sustainability. “We are interested to share our experiences and to learn about the strategies that have been successful at other APRU institutions,” she said.